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Flat lift ramps

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
The loading zone of our single chairlift at our small ski hill gets rutted quickly. It's the patrol's responsibility to assist the lifties in keeping it as smooth as possible to facilitate safe loading of the patrons. It's a never-ending battle which can get downright dangerous for beginner skiers if it's ignored for too long. (The ruts / slopes that develop don't allow for beginners to remain in control of their balance / skis as they load).

I've noticed that some ski areas have some sort of shelving or boards with mats on them right under the chair lift loading / unloading zone. A couple shovel-fulls of snow tossed on those mats seems to be a great answer to our problem. Do any of you have this sort of setup at your hill? If so, what are the pros and cons of using such that you could share with us? What is the material used to make these loading ramps?

Thanks!
post #2 of 10
We have these funky plastic mats with little prongs that stick up to hold the snow in place. The clients ski onto this, which slopes gently down to a... wait for it.... four-person-wide moving carpet! The carpet is moving a bit slower than the lift, which comes up behind the client and gently whisks them off their feet into the chair. It actually works well, but a lot of peopel think that they have to move forward on the carpet, and the lift picks up everyone at different times. All in all, though, I like it.

As for the patrollers maintaining the snow at the lift lines, I would have a problem with that. But then again, I am a volunteer. If they want me to pick up a shovel, I want them to pay me.

Dean.
post #3 of 10
That may be a bit much, expense wise, for a small one lift area.

Are the areas for load covered? With covered areas, a small amount of snow on top of wooden or plastic staging areas are pretty easy to maintain, and don't allow for rutting.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadMoney View Post

Are the areas for load covered? With covered areas, a small amount of snow on top of wooden or plastic staging areas are pretty easy to maintain, and don't allow for rutting.

The loading area isn't covered, per se -- only the minimal protection offered by the bullwheel and gantry. But the loading zone is in front of the bullwheel, of course...

I'm assuming that these plastic mats are secured onto a wooden frame of some sort, right? Do they need to be placed on sheets of plywood? Or can they be placed directly on a flattened snow surface?

Thanks again for the insights...
post #5 of 10
I believe they are on a wood frame or some structure. Have not paid any attention before snow covered. The entire loading area, from bullwheel to maybe 10 feet beyond lift off is covered. Also covered to the sides, maybe eight feet wider than a chair on both sides. Gives the lifties a little break from the weather and means little to no snow removal.
post #6 of 10
ours are on a wooden or steel frame. We have a small fabrication shop and a lot of our equipment is built there. I have never gone to see what it is made of, so I am not sure what is holding the mats. All I know is that it works quite well. As for the moving carpet, the website of the manufacturer is http://www.emmegiski.com/ . I don't think they are all that expensive, as we have 4 of them, and I thought that we are the smallest ski hill in the world.

Dean.
post #7 of 10
I've been at a couple of areas this year where the "astro mats" have been added to the loading area of high-traffic lifts - usually quads. Personally I find them to be a PITA. The lifties try to keep them brushed relatively clean, which creates friction from plastic-on-plastic when trying to slide up to the loading line. Weak skiers (beginners) struggle to get to the line quickly enough. Stronger skiers move up quickly but it takes added effort. Lots of lift slow downs to accomodate the stragglers.

When there is a thaw/freeze cycle, the melted snow in the mats turns to ice and can't be removed. Then, if the loading area is brushed clean, it becomes a skating rink.

No scientific data to back up my statement, but observation seems to suggest there are more loading related problems as a result of the mats. I've not seen an integrated moving platform, but logistically it sounds like it would work. ...just a whole lot of complexity for something that is really fairly simple - sitting down on a chair. : Especially detachables.
post #8 of 10
Agree with medmarkco. Anything other than snow causes too much friction. I have not tried the moving carpet. But again, why add the complexity. A platform that is protected and can be loaded with snow, seems to work well. We do have the eight inch wide, red plastic STAND HERE beam in the snow. You glide up to it and nearly do a header when your skies come to a sudden stop on it.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadMoney View Post
Agree with medmarkco. Anything other than snow causes too much friction. I have not tried the moving carpet. But again, why add the complexity. A platform that is protected and can be loaded with snow, seems to work well. We do have the eight inch wide, red plastic STAND HERE beam in the snow. You glide up to it and nearly do a header when your skies come to a sudden stop on it.
The hill at which I patrol has the largest school school in Canada. As a result, we have literally thousands of little munchkins and less than adept adults panicing when the chair comes whipping around the bullwheel to pick them up. In ordr to make it easier on them, we decided to install the carpets as it slows the relative speed of the chair relative to the skier. In concrete terms it meant that we had to slow down our lifts much less often, and we had fewer accidents and injuries at the bottom of the hill. On the first weekend of ski school, we put two patrollers at the top of the hill to pick up the clients who fall when they are getting off the lift. The entire system was installed in the interests of safety. As for our bunny hills, we have tow very long carpets that move the clients up the hill rather than the T-bars that are standard elsewhere. We have no problems with people falling of the t-bar, and the capacity is far higher.
They were worth it.
Now, if we could only get a couple thousand feet of vertical......

Dean.
post #10 of 10
Our area uses a variety of surfaces on four lifts. All have concrete pads at the base, covered by a cheap outdoor carpet, kept slick with a thin layer of snow, or slush when its warm. One lift has an intermediate pick up point, and that is a plywood surface, but same type of carpet.
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